THE EXCITING WORLD OF 3-D MOVIES
Watch Them Pop Out Right in Your Face!
Rather than get into the usual technical talk of just what 3-D movies are, I'd much rather explain the effect that 3-D movies have on an audience, and in particular, myself. Back in the early 1980's, 3-D movies enjoyed a renassance. Not only was 1982/83 a pivotal year for the production of new 3-D movies, but it was also the two years that witnessed a mass release of old 3-D films. And you didn't always have to go to the movies to see these films, some of them came right to your TV screen courtesy of your local channel programming. And in order for you to fully appreciate the 3-D effect being broadcast to your TV screen, you had to go out to places like 7/11 stores in order to pick up your 3-D glasses along with a purchase of a 16 oz. Coca Cola. Talk about the power of tie in marketing, Lord have mercy! But the expense was very cheap at the time, in fact even to go to the movies wasn't all a breaker in terms of money, as movies were about $4.50 then. I'm still very unclear as to what came first in my life, a 3-D TV broadcast or the actual movie experience in 3-D. I do recall that most of the TV experiences were very unsatisfactory, you could never adjust the TV properly in order to really get the 3-D effect, and you really looked like a dip shit wearing 3-D glasses in your house and viewing the said film on a TV unfit for showing a 3-D film. But thousands upon thousands of us did it. And I'm proud I did it. One of the things that did help watching these flicks on unsuitable televisions was occasionally having a horror host such as Zacherly introduce the film and kind of cut in between commercials and do some sort of routine. At least you were having a few laughs while sitting in front of your TV wearing idiotic glasses that weren't working. If my memory is correct, Zacherly hosting showings of Gorilla At Large (1953) and The Mad Magician (1954). I was lucky enough over the ensuing years to have seen Mad Magician in 3-D at my college (I was invited by a professor who knew I loved horror films) and the 3-D festivals held at the Film Forum Theater on Houston St. in NYC. The fun of the 3-D movies at home was that you could get your girlfriend, who usually didn't give a rip roaring shit about these movies, to suck your cock between commercials. Yeah, you heard me right. That was the big deal when I was a teenager, watching stupid horror flicks on TV and getting my cock sucked. Now that I think about it I'm a very easy person to please but in the long run my desires aren't exactly what you'd call progressive. Also, the oral sex with the girlfriend only worked when your parents were out, it was not acceptable behavior to do that in public (in to days society it might be though, anything to keep the kids happy and at home where they are safe).
But the movie theater was the place to be for 3-D. And yes folks, I was there. And there were so many movies coming out in the early 80's, I actually recall going to the theater at least three or four times a week. Being a huge Vincent Price fanatic, I can't wax quite enough about how lucky I was to see House of Wax (1953) playing at my local multiplex at the time. Not only did the 3-D effects hold up, but the obviously remastered prints looked just great. Furthermore, the audience was really into the film, there wasn't one snicker or sneer, this group wasn't out to belittle yesteryears films, they were into it, they were fully aware of what a great opportunity we had at our hands to see these films theatrically. It's interesting to note that when I saw House of Wax it was a packed house. Now, bear in mind that the video tape revolution was already at hand, but regardless of that people still headed out to the movies, especially 3-D because it worked best in the movie house. And here's a film from 1953, literally 30 years after it's initial release and there we are glued to our theater seats all over again, like it was just made yesterday. It also solidified Vincent Prices reputation, plus it had a chance to re-introduce him to an audience that could appreciate him in all his theatrical glory, as Vincent Price was a presence that was best appreciated in all his splendid 6 ft. plus glory when seen strutting it on a giant movie theater screen. But perhaps my greatest memory of seeing a 3-D movie in the theater was Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1974). This 1982 re-release was met by a high school mob that packed the theater. I'm talking sell out folks, I've never seen a theater so crowded. At the time I was dating a girl who lived in Valley Stream, NY. I lived in Hewlett, NY, one town over. My girlfriend mentioned that the theater was full of High School students from Valley Stream High. What was amazing was how excited they all were. So many were familiar with the film due to it's 1977 re-release and the fact that the films cult status still existed. The cheers from the audience during the gore scenes had to be heard to be believed, the energy in this crowd had to be the most enthusiastic I have ever seen in a movie theater. And what a perfect age for me to be seeing this film, I was 17 and full of vim and vigor. The amount of nude flesh and visceral blood letting had to be seen to be believed, at that time this had to be one of the goriest films I had ever seen. The scene were by Udo Keir severs the head of the woodsman has and never again will appear better that it did in that theater. The head literally dangling over the heads of the very audience watching the film, combined with the blood spilling out of the headless body and that same blood looking like it was landing in your lap, there has never been a finer moment in exploitation film history. When Arno Jurgen rips open the maids abdomen and she falls on the metal grating, her viscera dangling in the very face of the audience, I mean this stuff was mind altering sans the drugs. The big floppy tits of the overweight Italian whores and Joe Dalensandro's ass coming straight out off the screen had to be an experience to behold . A smorgasbord of flesh and blood, unlike anything I had ever seen on a theater screen. Oh God, to be so innocent, and have this steaming pile of sin scooped straight up off the floors of hell and dumped right in to your lap, just how many of you wish you were me at that moment in time? In fact, how many of you were with me in that moment in time?
From there on I was a 3-D addict. I saw any and all 3-D movies playing at the cinema. At the top of my list were two films from Italy produced by the oxymoron name of actor/producer Tony Anthony. This guy, who gathered some popularity for his roles in Spaghetti Westerns such as The Stranger and Blindman, hit the screen hard by producing and starring in two 3-D movies that did quiet well at the box office, Comin' At Ya (a 3-D Spaghetti western) and Treasure of the Four Crowns (a 3-D rip off of Raiders of the Lost Arc). Comin' At Ya was nothing more than a remake of Anthony's own Blindman (1971) only in the 3-D version the hero isn't blind. While Blindman is far superior to Comin' At Ya, Comin' At Ya's appeal is strictly the 3-D. The opening sequence is a live action credits in which a gunslinger is creeping around a ghost town. The credits are literally written out on various props which literally coming hurling out of the screen at various cues. Another thing that makes Comin' At Ya stick out among 3-D films is the fact that it is 100% aware of the fact that it exists as a 3-D film and as a 3-D film only. In other words, just about every scenario in the film is designed to highlight the 3-D effects, whether it fists punching toward the camera, guns being aimed and shot, or best yet, the sequence where the bats attack a group of saloon girls kidnapped by a bandit and his honchos. In fact the very difference between Andy Warhols Frankenstein (which was made by an American in Italy), and Comin' At ya is that Warhols Frankenstein was designed as a spoof on excesses, hence the sex, violence and 3-D is all played for social satire. Comin' At Ya revels in excess, it makes no excuse for being exploitation and literally wears it's assorted nonsense with pride. The same goes for Treasure of the Four Crowns, which while ripping off Indiana Jones on only a third of that films budget, still uses what little money they had to pull off any and all 3-D effects, even if they don't make any sense (like the villain being vanquished only to return as a monster at the films conclusion?!).
And so it continued from there. We also saw a re-release of Alfred Hitchcocks Dial M For Murder (1954). Strange as this sounds, I didn't end up seeing this Hitchcock masterpiece in it's first 3-D release (which was around 1983), but rather at a retro showing in NY in the early 2000's. Even though it was shot in 3-D and had test showings ultimately it was released flat, and that's how most folks had seen it then. Since the 80's re-release in 3-D, most showing have been in 3-D since. And Hitchcock did make very good use of 3-D. Each film kept coming out in succession. These films for the most part were indi efforts designed to take advantage of the 3-D craze. Charles Band, son of the famous Albert Band, gave us Parasite, with a then unheard of star by the name of Demi Moore. This end of the world sci-fi saga was not only bleak in it's depiction of post war America but it featured a horrible laboratory created parasite that burst through people, hence naturally this made for a great effect to exploit in 3-D. We also got the sci-fi mini epic from Band called Metalstorm - The Destruction of Jared- Syn. Band, very much like Tony Anthony, was very aware of the fact not to disappoint the audience by skimping on 3-D effects, and hence he didn't, each film was filled to the brim with effects. Anyhow, big companies like Paramount pictures got into the act and released the latest saga in their never ending Friday the 13th pictures in 3-D. Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D was actually quite successful. The gory mayhem of Jason, the hockey mask wearing killer provided a few good scare moments for the 3-D audience, but having recently looked back on the film, it struck me as being rather poor. Even at the time that I saw it upon it's release, I realized it was hardly a good film, but it seemed so much worse to me upon a recent viewing. That Friday the 13th series lost steam very early on, but for some reason folks kept going. Amityville 3-D, while hardly a masterpiece, actually struck me as holding up better upon a recent watching then when I originally had seen it in the theater. The effects in it are quite good, the story sucked ass, but most Amityville sequels did, the possible exception being Amityville 2: The Possession, which was actually a prequel. The best effects included a pit from hell that opened up in the basement of the house, unleashing all sorts of idiotic nonsense. Candy Clark is burned alive in a nasty car fire. I think the worst of the big budget 3-D films had to be Jaws 3-D, which not only had a lousy story but featured lousy effects as well. It's amazing to me that the low budget guys actually did a better job at crafting the 3-D flicks than the major studios, who could afford to set up fantastic 3-D but are so in contempt of their audience that they pull shit like Jaws 3-D out of their asses and unleash it on the paying public. Once the big budget crap got out and gradually word leaked that the current 3-D cinema was starting to suck, 3-D dropped out the window as quickly as it had come in. But for a while there, there was stragglers. In 1986 I remember seeing an ultra tiny ad for a horror movie called Silent Madness (1984). When I say this ad was tiny, I mean one blink and you missed it. Anyhow, I rember going with my girlfriend, and her best pal, to see it, like we had so many times before, only this time the theater was half empty, and the excitement had all but gone out of going to the movies. The change was in the air, the indi's were being all run out, and horror movies had lost their bite. To make it all worse, Silent Madness was quite poor, hence the reason for the two year lag in it's release. After Silent Madness, 3-D once again took a nose dive, and it didn't play a part in my life until the mid 90's.
The 1990's were a lousy period for horror films, in fact most movies were seriously lacking in some capacity, it was a very depressing time if you were a movie fan. The only thing of interest was the occasional repertory movie theaters having festivals. The Film Forum on Houston St in NYC built it's reputation by having Summer long horror film festivals in the early and mid 90's. And yes, I was there whenever I could be. They also had, and still have occasionally, 3-D film festivals. I've seen showings of House of Wax, The Mad Magician, Phantom of the Rue Morgue, and a few other titles there several times over the years. The Film Forum, like other theaters I know, would build up a huge crowd doing horror film festivals only to later turn their back on the horror film fan and rarely show that type of genre material. But the 2000's have proven the decade to be the re-emergence of the 3-D film. Home theater entertainment is killing the movie theater off. The only way for the movie theater to fight back is to offer things you can't get at home. 3-D is one of them. Except this 3-D tends to be super enhanced, far better than yesterdays 3-D. The other thing Hollywood offers is a 3-D effect that's added by computer to 2-D shot films. This effect does give the films depth, but it's hardly 3-D. A perfect example of this was the remakes of Clash of the Titans and Piranha (which of the two remakes Piranha is the superior film) . Clash of the Titans was lousy, loaded with CGI effects, and worse even was the fact that nothing was coming out at you. The 2009 remake of My Bloody Valentine was actually shot in 3-D. The effects in the film were damn good, and the actual plot of the film was a major improvement over the first film. When I went to see the film, the theater was packed, people were screaming and jumping, and I had a brief flashback to 1982 and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. The sad thing, in the long run, is that ages ago a big studio wouldn't really touch a project like My Bloody Valentine, now, they revel in it. And in turn, we've lost the independent producers, directors and even the independent venues that we would go to see these films in. This corporate structure swallowed it whole and spit it out. Weird how times have changed!
3-D Films Available Through Cinefear
That's right, if you have the glasses, we have the movies. For the first time Cinefear is now offering 3-D films, films shot in 3-D and transferred to disc in the same processes. The only catch is that you need to have the glasses, that's right, the standard, anaglyph cardboard 3-D glasses that have the blue plastic over the right eye and the red over the left. These glasses are easily procured through Amazon usually sold in packs of three for under $3.00 dollars. Bear in mind the quality of these titles vary, some are professional transfers that were initially done during the days of video but the 3-D is quite good and they work great on your flat screen TV. Others are transfers of prints were the print is either beat up or the transfer is very soft. Regardless, 3-D movies are meant to be seen in 3-D, and hence here they are. I will give a quality description in each title capsule.
ANDY WARHOL'S FRANKENSTEIN (1973) Here it is, just as you remember it coming off the big screen in all it's gory details. Boobs, buttocks, blood, guts, bats, you name it, it pops out at you. A classic. Now, regarding the print, the 3-D is ok, but the the color is very washed out, so bear that in mind. Far from a perfect transfer but if you need it in it's original 3-D, then your gonna need this! ORDER
AMITYVILLE 3-D (1983) Another piece of nonsense in the Amityville Horror sweepstakes. Total nonsense but Candy Clark makes the film worth watching. Nice 3-D transfer, played well on my flat screen. ORDER
APE: THE HIDEOUS MUTANT (1976) Here is the Paul Leder classic, complete in all it's 3-D glory! Basically Leder's spoof of the then remake of King Kong (which featured Jessica Lang), this flick was shot over seas and features a funky monkey on a rip roaring rampage of banana peeling city smashing madness. The 3-D really helps to make this a fun a flick to sit through. ORDER
BAWANA DEVIL (1952) Here is the film always considered the first in the 3-D sweepstakes. Produced, written and Directed by Arch Obler, this flick recounts the horrors of the Tsavo maneaters, two lions that went on a slaughter spree in Africa during the building of the railroad in the early 20th century. Robert Stack plays the fearless troop leader who vows to the kill the beasts before they slow down any further work on the railroad. This is a very amusing picture, far better than it's given credit for, and the sense of depth in the dense, African bush really does make it a fun venue for 3-D. Spears are hurled at the camera continuously, not to mention those lions leaping out at you from behind the bush. Actually a very engaging drama. Certainly not the best print, faded color and such, but well worth owning in it's original format. ORDER
BLONDE EMMANUELLE (1977) Here's a basic rip off of the premise of Casablanca only this time porn veterans of the era play the lead roles, in this case you get Mike Ranger, Serena, Leslie Bovee, William Margold, Uschi Digart. The 3-D in both this film was done using a fairly lame home made 3-D camera set up that doesn't quite work, so don't expect a masterpiece, but you'll still find plenty of amusement in this piece of dreck, so don't pass it off. After all, it is a piece of cinematic 3-D history. ORDER
THE BUBBLE (1966) This was Arch Oblers long overdue follow up to Bwana Devil. A happily married couple is taking a private plane to their honeymoon only to have aliens force a landing in a strange town full of Alien controlled townspeople. Pretty much a fairly plotless film designed to show off Oblers Stereo vision 3-D process. Loaded with effects, and a nice transfer to boot. ORDER
CATWOMEN OF THE MOON (1953) Sonny Tuffs and friends meet up with leotard wearing cat girls on the moon. Yes, as bad as it sounds, and that includes the 3-D. For completest only. ORDER
CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954) The one and only original, complete with the gillman lusting after the lovely Julie Addams, and Richard Carlson on hand to fight the beast and win back the lovely. Nice 3-D transfer makes this such a pleasure to see in it's original form. I carry the sequel in 3-D as well. ORDER
DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) Here's the Alfred Hitchcock classic complete with Ray Milland and the magic of 3-D. An ex-tennis pro decides to murder his wife for money, and to get revenge for a past affair she had. When the murder plan goes wrong, he also decides to use that to his advantage. Classic with Grace Kelley in the role of Millands wife. Even better in 3-D. Go for it...ORDER
DYNASTY (1977) Here it is folks, the 3-D martial arts extravaganza which is rumored to have been directed by the late Michael Findlay (which, considering how creative the deaths are in this film, and knowing that "Creative Deaths" was his specialty, I believe he did direct this) and will now be popping out all over your TV screen. Classic martial arts plot has a young man fighting for his mentor against an evil shogun. During his battles he must contend with flying guillotine type contraptions, spears, swords, and every other hideous device of death known to man. This appears to be a 35mm film transfer, the print is a tad beat up and the color a bit faded, but the 3-D worked dandy on my flat screen, and you can't beat that feeling of depth. ORDER
FORT TI (1953) Set during the French and Indian war, the British attempt to re-route the French lead Indian attack from Fort Ticonderoga. William Castle directed this 3-D extravaganza with plenty of arrows, tomahawks and spears heading right toward you. Can't beat that, can ya!? ORDER
GOG (1954) Powerful cold war thriller has a space station being investigated because of the recent deaths of various scientists by two robots being commanded by commies flying over head the space station. Here is a 3-D print of the film that is actually quite nice quality and color and also very, very rare. Not overloaded with 3-D effects, the film is still lots of fun and well worth owning in it's original format. Directed by Herbert L. Strock, who played around quite a bit in the Sci-fi field with titles like The Crawling Hand and How To Make A Monster. Stars Richard Egan, Herbert Marshall and Three Stooges co-star Phillip Van Zandt. ORDER
GORILLA AT LARGE (1954) A stellar cast really makes this man in a monkey suite flick pull off. Cameron Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Burr and Ann Bancroft. A gorilla at a traveling circus is prime suspect in a series of murders, but is the gorilla really to blame? Interesting murder mystery premise. Nice 3-D transfer. ORDER
HONDO (1953) That's right, the classic John Wayne western in all it's glorious 3-D marvel. But that's not all, included on this disc is a collection of 3-D shorts, including titles from the 1930's as well as the 50's. You'll get Audioscopics (1935), New Audioscopics (1938), Adventures of Sam Space (1953), Motor Rhythm (1940), Pardon My Backfire (1953), Solid Explanation 3-D, Spooks (1953), Third Dimensional Murder (1941), Time for Beanie & Eild Ride 3-D. All I can say is "who loves ya baby". ORDER
HOUSE OF WAX (1953) The original classic that launched Vincent Price's career as a horror star. A disfigured artists encases his victims in wax and displays them in his wax museum. With Phillis Kirk, Charles Bronson and Carolyn Jones. Nice 3-D. Worth owning in it's original format. ORDER
IT CAME FROM OUT OF SPACE (1953) The original classic with Richard Carlson helping some out of luck space invaders to get their ship air born again. In the meantime, they turn themselves into replicas of the town people. Good transfer in 3-D and a truly sought after title in this format. ORDER
JAWS 3-D (1983) While Jaws The Revenge has the distinction of being the worst Jaws film on record, this 3-D sequel runs a pretty close second. Pretty much what you'd expect, and really for completest only. Worth it only for the stupid sequence in which the shark smashes through an aquarium window. Yeah, that exciting. ORDER
KIKAIDA (1973) Really weird Japanese monster show, most likely made for TV because it has a short running time. The whole thing isn't in 3-D, it's only when the monsters appear to fight are you prompted to put your 3-D glasses on. Not the best quality but the 3-D is OK. ORDER
MAD MAGICIAN (1954) Here's the follow up to the Vincent Price classic House of Wax. This film finds Price playing a magician who goes rip roaring mad when his agent takes away both his wife and his magic act. Not nearly on par with House of Wax but still lots of fun. Both films make a great double feature. ORDER
MARS 3-D AND SPIRIT OF QUALITY 3-D (1978) Two Nassau space center issued 3-D training films that feature some of the most perfect 3-D available, so if you are just looking for some great 3-D effects, and if you're a space exploration nut, then you are going to need this. ORDER
METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN (1983) Another in the futuristic genre of wild weaponry and fancy foot work. A good guy adventurer in the future most protect a young woman who's father was murdered by the rotten Jared-Syn. Will you buy this movie to find out how this plot all works out? At least get it for the 3-D, which is always fun! ORDER
OUTLAW TERRITORY (Aka Hanna Lee 1953) A Western in 3-D directed by John Ireland, who also stars in the film with his wife Joanna Dru .Macdonald Carey is the bad guy hired to kill squatters, Dru is the witness to his violence and Ireland is the Marshall out to stop Macdonald Carey. Even for the time, this wasn't the best 3-D, a tad on the blurry side, but well worth having if your a collector. ORDER
PARASITE (1982) This was one of the first flicks to usher in the 3-D revival of the early 80's. A monstrous creature eats it's way through people in war torn USA. Interesting for one of the first performances of Demi Moore.Lots of fun effects and gore, and the 3-D in this one is pretty decent as well. ORDER
PHANTOM OF THE RUE MORGUE (1954) My personal favorite! Classic adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe classic has Karl Malden in place of Vincent Price, setting his pet monkey loose for some monkey business. Some very nice, stylish murder scenes directed by the reliable Roy Del Ruth. Fun in 3-D. ORDER
PLAYMATES (In Deep Vision 3-D 1974) An ultra goofy sex comedy that had also been released in a hard core version called The Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy. Hard core or soft core, the film really bites big time, but it is a perfect example of the marriage of the sex film and the magic of 3-D. Again, this is a far from perfect 3-D transfer, some of the 3-D works, some doesn't, but well worth owning if your a collector. ORDER
PRISON GIRLS (1972) Despite the title, most of the action in this film takes place outside a prison, not in it. The flimsy plot involves six inmates given a weekend reprieve. Naturally, the bulk of the plot follows their sexual adventures once they get out from behuind the bars. The treat with this 3-D version is you get to see the pultritude of Uschi (Vixen) Digard, Annik(Werewolf Woman) Borel and Marsha (Count Yorga) Jordan coming right at ya in glorious 3-D! Now how can you beat that? I have a flat (no pun intended) version available as well in the Euro section, the print on thaty is better than the print on this 3-D version but the 3-D version does make this film more fun. ORDER
REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955) Sequel to the original only with Lori Nelson and John Agar replacing Julie Addams and Richard Carlson. Keep an eye out for Clint Eastwood as a lab assistant. Nice 3-D transfer. ORDER
REVENGE OF THE SHOGUN WOMEN (Aka 13 Nuns 1977) All hell breaks loose when a group of nuns are assaulted by a Shoguns thugs. Revenge is taken, and when I say revenge, I mean revenge with a capital R. Best scene has a nun grabbing a shogun by his pony tail and whirling him around until his scalp breaks off. Now this not a very good transfer, it has washed out color, and the print is pretty beat up, but it is still quite a piece for any serious 3-D collectors collection. ORDER
ROTTWEILER: DOGS OF HELL (1982) From Earl Owensby, self made millionaire from North Carolina. This fun flick involves some scientifically altered Rottweilers intended for use in warfare accidentally escaping a crashed truck transporting them to a military base. Loads of rip roaring violence occurs as the dogs decide to snack on the local populace. If you know Owensby, you know what to expect. Decent 3-D transfer here, lots of the effects stood out. ORDER
SILENT MADNESS (1984) Late entry in the 3-D horror sweepstakes of the early 80's. A slasher is released prematurely from an insane asylum and goes right back to doing what he does best, murdering people. And he does these murders at a sorority house just to add more fun to the proceedings. Extremely rare in 3-D. ORDER
SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE (1983) An interstellar adventurer and his side kick must rescue three stranded women on a planet that is notorious for making people vanish. Exactly what it sounds like. 3-D is pretty damn cool though... ORDER
TAZA, SON OF COCHISE (1954) Rock Hudson plays the title role of the peace loving Apache Taza who is being challenged by his war loving brother Naiche for control of the tribe. More Western 3-D fun from director Douglas Sirk. Buy the premise, buy the flick! ORDER
TREASURE OF THE FOUR CROWNS (1983) Another classic from Italian trash miester Tony Anthony and his house director Fernando Baldi. This is Tony Anthony's version of Indiana Jones, only this one has some outrageous violence helping confirm to you the viewer, that it is after all an Italian film. The 3-D transfer on this is lacking, sort of dupey and washed out but the effects do work and hold up quite well. Worth your time? You bet! ORDER
VENUS (1984) French sex comedy involving a tycoon and his so trying to find the perfect girl for their suntan lotion advertisements. This flick has more opulent naked female flesh than you'll be able to shake your stick at. this was filmed in 3D, made into a Japanese VHD shutter system format in 3D, and then transferred into Anaglyph 3D. Because this was transferred from a Japanese VHD, it has Japanese censoring, you know, the mosaic they like to put over all the naughty parts. Plenty of buns and boobs though! ORDER